Fernando Gaviria’s fourth stage win of the 2017 Giro d’Italia on Friday puts him in the company of Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel and Marcel Kittel, all of whom have taken four stage victories in Grand Tours over the last four years. Gaviria adds Stage 13 to Stages 3, 7 and 12, becoming the first Colombian to take four stage victories. Tom Dumoulin stayed safe in pink.

Holy moley, was this a flat route. Short too. We were heading into the Piedmont region.

News at the start was that Sky’s Geraint Thomas, one of the pre-race favourites, had abandoned the Giro d’Italia due to injuries from the crash last Sunday that saw him lose heaps of time. Thomas was in 15th place on GC.

A altimetry like Friday’s wasn’t going to tempt very many breakaways. At first a foursome shook loose but then one was called back to the peloton, which was animated. The escape wasn’t allowed more than 2:30.

The winds picked up as the riders turned southwest towards Tortona. The fugitives were brought to heel. Echelons formed but the damage wasn’t profound. The front of the bunch was crowded with GC teams protecting their riders and sprint teams trying to keep their trains unified. Pace varied according to the road furniture and pinch points.

Now facing a headwind, teams were careful not to launch too early. Filippo Pozzatto tried a late attack with 4-km to go to no avail. Quick Step and Bora took over from Cannondale just before the red kite. Gaviria had the path and the power to triumph. Sam Bennett, third place thrice in the 100th edition, was runner-up.

The GC battle is back on for Sunday, with a summit finish on Cat. 1 Oropa.

2017 Giro d’Italia Stage 13

1) Fernando Gaviria (Colombia/Quick Step) 3:47:45
2) Sam Bennett (Ireland/Bora-Hansgrohe) s.t.
3) Jasper Stuyven (Belgium/Treko-Segafredo) s.t.

2017 Giro d’Italia GC

1) Tom Dumoulin (The Netherlands/Sunweb) 52:41:08
2) Nairo Quintana (Colombia/Movistar) +2:23
3) Bauke Mollema (The Netherlands/Trek-Segafredo) +2:38


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